Long Time, No Blog

What a year. I stopped blogging for a while due to the sheer volume of LIFE going on. I won’t go into the details, but trust me when I say it’s been pretty crazy.

So what’s happened since then? Despite some lulls in my crafting mojo, there’s been plenty of fibre-y joy. I spent plenty of time with my Lendrum, Jack. I know, cars and boats and other things with wheels are usually female, but Jack had other ideas. So, Jack and I made some more pretty string:

Can't recall the vendor, shame on me!

Knitty & Color

Tale & Tendril

I went to Rhinebeck for the first time, which prompted me to knit my very first adult sweater. I was walking through the parking lot (field) at the Dutchess Country Fairgrounds and heard someone say, ‘Excuse me, but that’s my sweater.’ I turned around to see none other than Amy Herzog, the designer of my beloved Vignette!

Oh, the fangirling that ensued… yeah, I made my sister take a picture with my phone.

The Sweater Meets Its Grandmum

I learned Fair Isle wasn’t so scary after all. Particularly when you combine it with another of my loves, craft beer. However, I also learned that one should not attempt to DRINK beer while KNITTING beer. One mitten turned out much larger than the other, and had to be frogged and reknit. Oops.

SpillyJane Mittens

And I decided to start another sweater… despite saying many times that I would NOT put on the crazy hat and try to knit another full sweater in six weeks, here I am again… wish me luck!

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No knitting to share right now, as just about everything on the pins is a gift for someone else.  I promise to have more soon!

Like everyone else, I had to check out the Supermoon tonight.  Apparently, this is the brightest perigee full moon we will have all year.  Science aside, it was gorgeous!  I took my camera out in what I expected to be an utterly vain attempt to capture a glimmer of the grandeur of said Supermoon (my last try was dismal).  I put on the 300mm lens, cranked the ISO waaaay down and the speed waaay up, and got something that actually worked.  I edited this very slightly, increasing the white levels just a smidge to compensate for the overall dark pic. I love that you can see craters on the right edge!

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Hello, Sweetie

I finally gave in and started watching Doctor Who a year or two ago.

What took me so long?

Of course, in the way of geeks everywhere, my new-found affection for all things Whovian crept into other aspects of my life.  I found myself knitting TARDISes in varying shades of blue. I hunted down brass beads to use as coat buttons for a handsome Torchwood agent.  I put feathers on a fascinator.  In short, I blinked, and the Weeping Angels had me.

So far, I have Captain Jack Harkness, complete with vortex manipulator and decidedly sexy coat,

A mug cosy, which I titled ‘Tea And Relative Delight In Solution’ (improvised pattern),

A ‘Bigger on the Inside‘ shawl (to which I added a Dalek, just because I could),

And, the latest, a TARDIS-styled mini-tophat fascinator.

Problem?  What problem?

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After my last post, I ventured into the depths of the dungeon (aka my basement) to see what treasures (I can’t believe I just called acrylic a treasure) might be found to meet my blankie square needs.

Imagine my delight to find a box containing a half-finished afghan in just the yarn I needed!  I frogged enough afghan inches to come up with these little darlings, which will be shipped off to the Slytherin Sunshine Committee Baby Shower to be used for expecting mums.

Pattern is Creeping Trebles, and yarn is the ever-economical Vanna’s Choice.

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Yarn Snob

A few years ago, I went through a spate of yarn snobbery. I unloaded all of my acrylic, and vowed to knit only natural fibres.

This move has now backfired.

See, I’m trying to knit mostly from the stash this year, as we’ve established that I may have a slight problem with buying ALL THE THINGS. I’m not going ‘cold sheep’ as some knitters are, but I am trying to chill the sheep a bit.

Enter the latest HPKCHC challenge – blanket squares. The group requests 8×8 squares, made from worsted weight acrylic or acrylic blends. I have worsted wool, or surprisingly soft sport weight acrylic that I use for baby items, but no worsted acrylic survived the purge of yarn snobbery.

I’m going to have to buy a skein of acrylic, just to make some blanket squares.

Oh, well… I should probably feed the stash anyway. It’s been grumbling recently, and I don’t want to make it mad. I’d be sorely outnumbered.

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See, This is What Happens

I fell off the blogosphere, again!  This time, I have a new toy to blame… I fell victim to some serious enabling, and finally broke down with a major purchase:  a Lendrum DT Complete spinning wheel.

And oh, how I love it.

Check out the pretties!

Every one of these has some kind of sparkle.   My inner five-year-old is content.  :)

One skein is earmarked for some gift knitting, but I can’t say more than that.  The other two are MINEALLMINE.  Yes, I’m a wool-pig.  Somehow in the few months that I’ve been a spinner, I’ve acquired a stash of fibre.  Nothing that approaches the level of the yarn stash, thankfully, but it’s still a significant heap. And when I spin from the fibre stash?  I ADD TO THE YARN STASH.

Problem?  What problem?

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Bad Blogger

Sorry for the blog neglect, lots going on lately! I joined the Harry Potter Knit and Crochet House Cup group on Ravelry, and I’ve spent all my time knitting instead of blogging.  The HPKCHC works much like Hogwarts in the books – participants are sorted into Houses (I’m in Slytherin), and complete projects for classes.  You can even sit your OWL exams, which I ambitiously did my first time around.  I think this is the prettiest thing I’ve ever made… It’s Melusine, from The Anticraft.   The shawl is knitted in undyed yarn, then painted afterwards.   I used Kool-Aid to paint mine, since I didn’t want to mess about with acid dyes.  I love it!  Painting a finished shawl was a bit terrifying, but I’m very pleased with the results.

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Someday We’ll Find It

My knitting friends and I have been experimenting with food dyes and yarn… Kool-Aid, the little drop-shaped bottles of food colouring, the fancy-schmancy gel/paste colours for icing, and even Easter egg dye tablets.  So much fun… I will put up some yarn pics eventually, but for now, I’m working on a test knit for one of the group.  She is experimenting with using words in her dye patterns, and asked me to knit up her first sample piece.  She dyed a sock blank with the word ‘DREAM’, knowing of course that the words won’t appear on the socks – the point here is the intent behind the design.  She gave me free reign on design, so I picked the Thuja sock pattern from Knitty – a nice seeded rib with an increased stitch count to accommodate the finer weight yarn.  I’ve knitted through the semi-solid end of the blank, and you can see from the tiny specks of purple on the socks that I have reached the text:

I’ve also cast on the lovely Spectra by Stephen West.  This scarf reminds me of the song ‘Rainbow Connection‘ from the Muppet Movie.  Colour sings to my soul, just like Kermit the Frog sitting on his log in the swamp.  This is happy, knitted into a scarf.  This is also my first experience with intarsia… that was slightly less happy, but things became much simpler when I quit trying to follow the directions about crossing the two yarns and just did it the way I learned at my LYS (old yarn goes left, new yarn comes up over it, carry on this way for EVERY switch).  Much easier.  I think I’m about 20% of the way through right now, give or take a wedge.  I intend to knit until the coloured yarn runs out, since I can always get more of the black border stuff.

And oh, it’s pretty.  Laa-da-da-deee-da-da-dooo…

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Whip Crack

See that?  It’s a finished blanket.  It only took a little discipline.  Too bad I have very little!  But here it is… now just have to get it to the baby!

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I woke up yesterday and thought I had been transported to London overnight.

Gorgeous, yes?

While the weather here has been unseasonably warm (hitting 80 degrees in WINTER?!?), I’ve still been churning away on a few fibre-related projects.  I learned to spin on a drop spindle:

That’s a beautiful Turkish spindle from Jenkins Woodworking, and some unspecified roving from my LYS.  I’m now spinning my way through some squishy alpaca that I purchased at the Indiana State Fair.  It’s cotton candy colours, which I found appropriate for roving from a state fair.  Pre-drafting is my friend.

I also finished my Pleiades scarf.  The yarn is sadly discontinued – Kitchen Sink Dyeworks Silver Spoon, colourway Edgar.

I knew I was flirting with danger when I started this project… it calls for 450 yards of DIC Starry, but I was using a 410-yard skein of  Silver Spoon (did I mention it’s discontinued?  REALLY thumbing my nose at the knitting gods with this project).  I blithely cast on anyway, and knitted merrily through the leafy strip and crescent section.  I hit the ribbing for the border, and started to worry just a smidge.  I began compulsively weighing the remaining ball after every row, and calculated that I should just be able to squeak through the rows outlined in the pattern.  I knitted my last row, then started the cast-off, ignoring the rapidly shrinking ball rolling around in the bottom of my yarn bowl.  Halfway through the cast-off, I unrolled the dwindling ball and stretched the remaining yarn across the un-bound stitches.  I had four times that width, so I gave myself a mental pat on the back and kept on going.  After another quarter of the cast-off, I repeated the stretching process… uh-oh.  Now I only had double the width.  I was using up yarn far faster than my supply would allow.  Bollocks.

I sat on the sofa and cursed for a few minutes, then proceeded to unpick about 430 bound-off stitches, tink a row of 574 more stitches, and finally cast off those 574 stitches for once and for all.  I love it, and am wallowing in the fact that the next few days are forecast closer to seasonal norms for early Spring (around the 50s).    Now, I’m finishing up that sorely overdue baby blanket (remember the granny squares?)  I’m not allowed to cast on anything new until it’s done – smack my fingers if I get too close to the ball winder, will you?

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